Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rattlesnake Trailbuilding Continues

The Nevada County Land Trust will be working on a trail along Rattlesnake Creek this Saturday (2/3) from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. You are invited to come out and help build a section of the trail. The setting is beautiful with large ponderosa pines, cedar and oaks, and Rattlesnake Creek below. The trail we are building will utilize an abandoned ditch, paralleling the creek for much of the distance. Tools will be provided by the Land Trust; however if you have a trailbuilding tool, bring it so we don't run out of tools. Work will consist of clearing debris from the abandoned ditch grade and grubbing out small trees, brush and roots to make a smooth trail bed.

Meet at Bob Goar's house at 14676 Highland Drive (phone number is 477-5050). Highland Drive is off of Rattlesnake Road, it meets Rattlesnake Road at two points, you take the second Highland Drive if traveling from Highway 174. From Cedar Ridge, travel south on 174 to Rattlesnake Road, then 1.4 miles down Rattlesnake to Highland, left on Highland to the first house on the left (just across the creek). We will walk from there to the work site, across Rattlesnake Road in the Rattlesnake Ridge Subdivision.

Please call if you need any additional information. A response is appreciated if you plan to help out, so that we have an idea about how many tools are needed. Call for more information: 272-5311

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reschedule of BONC Party

Due to a conflict with Jim Rodgers' 50th birthday party, we need to reschedule our BONC pot luck to FRIDAY, February 9th at 7PM. See you there!


Ken Ebi will host the next BONC potluck on Friday, February 9 at 7PM (note the time!).

Please bring your favorite dish. Some folks like it when you label your dish vegetarian/vegan. As usual, the BONC meeting at this party will last *no longer than one hour*, hopefully less.

PARTY LOCATION: Ensemble Designs at 870 Gold Flat Rd., near Gold Flat Rd. & Railroad Ave. in Nevada City. There's a sign on Gold Flat that reads "Racine Properties", the entrance to Ensemble is along the right side of the building as you drive in from Gold Flat.

MAP and DIRECTIONS: http://tinyurl.com/2fy7da
Freaky Winter

What strange winter it has been recently. Take the following:

Auburn trails are dusty. Not all trails are this dry; in fact most are perfect. But in those sections that see a lot of sun exposure, you can see dust follow feet, hoofs and tires as they travel the trails. In January.

Up near Grouse Ridge, there is very little snow. You can drive in all the way up Bowman Lake Road to the turn off for Carr/Feely Lakes and beyond. This is at least 5500' elevation without significant snow. In January.

I guess I am happy about this in a myopic, self centered way, but I am concerned that if this continues, this will be a rough winter on the state. But then again, last March was crazy wet, so we will have to wait and see.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Western States Trailwork

Volunteers are needed to work on the trail from Cool to the "No Hands Bridge" Sunday, January 28th

Meet in Cool behind the Fire Station at 8 a.m. If anyone is interested in helping, please call 530-269-3018.
BONC Party February 10th

Ken Ebi will host the next BONC potluck on Saturday, February 10 at 6PM (note the time!).

Please bring your favorite dish. Some folks like it when you label your dish vegetarian/vegan. As usual, the BONC meeting at this party will last *no longer than one hour*, hopefully less.

PARTY LOCATION: Ensemble Designs at 870 Gold Flat Rd., near Gold Flat Rd. & Railroad Ave. in Nevada City. There's a sign on Gold Flat that reads "Racine Properties", the entrance to Ensemble is along the right side of the building as you drive in from Gold Flat.

MAP and DIRECTIONS: http://tinyurl.com/2fy7da

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Official: All Empire Trail Closures are Temporary

I just spoke with Ron Munson of State Parks. These are definitely NOT permanent closures. He said that Conlon Mine rail may be closed longer than others though due to its proximity to Prescott Mine and hazardous materials from that shaft.

Read the press release.
Trail Closures at Empire Mine: Temporary or Permanent?

According to this press release from CA State Parks, managers of Empire Mine will close some trails in the park on a temporary basis. But according to one of the workers at the park who was erecting a fence across the entrance to Conlon Trail (see map), this particular trail closure is permanent.

So what is the deal? The trails affected at Empire essentially includes all the singletrack in the park. Was this worker misinformed? Before I sound the alarm, I will try to get the story straight from Ron Munson (superintendent of Empire Mine) and post the real story here. Of course, trail enthusiasts will want to watch this closely.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Riding the Divide

Today, my friend Steve and I and I embarked on an epic ride on Western States and others trails at the Foresthill OHV area east of Foresthill, CA. We started at the China Wall OHV staging area and banged out a ride that was just under 6 hours (~5 hours of ride time on the Polar!). The ride featured two incredible descents into El Dorado Canyon (Trail 5 and Western States Trail). I can't really describe how fun and spectacular these drops were, especially the WST descent. Endless, narrow, technical challenging singletrack that offered stunning views of the American River watershed.

So why in the world don't more mountain bikers flock to these great trails? Well, once you get to the bottom of each descent, you have to complete a death march/hike a bike out. The climbs involved at least 45 minutes of walking each. Think Halls Ranch near Downieville, but much steeper. Times two. Yeah... ouch. Steve and I decided to have a good attitude about this and enjoy the scenery and the workout. But it was a long trek up each climb.

The OHV trails we hit were really fun and challenging. Very fast and technical. We saw a few motos, two equestrians and zero other mountain bikers. I should also note that this ride would never be accessible in the middle of a typical January, but there is very little snow throughout the Sierra this winter thus far. We did encounter some ice, but very little snow.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another Beginner Mountain Bike Opportunity

Dawrin Leek leads a ride for beginners this Saturday. According to Darwin:

What: Beginner / Intermediate mountain bike ride. Saturday 1-20-2007

Where: Meet @ Empire Professional Building, Back, Body & Beyond / Chiropractic +, 605 South Auburn Street, Front Parking lot. Grass Valley, CA (Corner of Empire & South Auburn Streets)

Time: Arrive @ 9:30-9:45 am / Leave promptly @ 10:00 am.

Details: Empire mine state park, fire roads, single track, hills, etc. Ride will be at beginner / intermediate level / those more advanced that know the park are invited to assist/ encourage others, or go @ your own pace.

Further Details?? Contact: Darwin S. Leek, D.C.@ (530) -273-8082 (press 6 to leave message)

What to bring: Weather appropriate clothing. Recommendations: (2 layers lycra / with nylon shell-vest is best) Full fingered gloves, Wool socks, non-slip comfortable cycling appropriate shoes. H20: Water bottle, or hydration pack. Spare tube / pump / recommended. Bike helmet * REQUIRED...NO HELMET= NO RIDE. Oh yeah... Don't forget to bring your fat-tire... not the beer... the bike....( :

I practice the "No Rider Left Behind" Rule....Will wait at turns...tops of hills for those that are not yet able to keep up...This is designed to be a fun ride for all.

Not to put a damper on things, or discourage participation, but this probably does need to be said: While generally a safe and fun sport...due to the strenuous physical nature & terrain involved in Mountain Biking, as in other such sporting / recreational endeavors: MINOR TO SEVERE INJURY / BRUISES / FRACTURES / DISLOCATIONS, OR DEATH CAN OCCUR...all participants do so @ their own risk & take full responsibility for their own state of health /actions / equipment / abilities / choices. Minor children must be accompanied by a responsible parent / guardian. In other words I am doing this as a way to introduce people to a generally healthful & fun recreational activity in our community, so don't get maimed, wounded, hurt, or dead & sue me : ( , or I will have to find something else to do with my Saturday mornings. ( : !!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So Whatever Happened to the Diamond Arrow Trail Anyway?

Good question. Those of you who recall know that the Diamond Arrow Trail was a proposal to construct a trail from the Diamond Arrow Christian Conference Center down into the South Yuba Canyon where it would connect to the South Yuba Trail just downstream from Edwards Crossing. View a map of the proposed route here.

The Diamond Arrow Trail proposal won the support of the South Yuba Management Plan. This plan was the result of many public volunteer hours and countless input meetings. The plan wrapped up in 2005.

But the planners (USFS, State Parks and the BLM) needed money to implement this management plan. Funding of this would pay for the environmental assessment needed before we could construct the trail. Today, I called BLM and State Parks only to find that a recent Prop 50 grant application for the plan was denied. These officials had no other news about possible funding. Even the plan's hotline and website has no updated information.

I would hate to think that all of us who donated a lot of time to these meetings and trail planning did so in vain. When will the plan be financed? When can we see the management plan implemented? The public wants and deserves to know.
More Trail Building on Rattlesnake

From the Nevada County Land Trust:

"Are you tired of staying inside and out of the cold? This Saturday, the Nevada County Land Trust is providing two opportunities to work outdoors: 1) Rattlesnake Ridge trail construction and (2.) Salter Property cleanup.

Trail Construction starts at 9:00 a.m., meet at Bob Goar's house at 14676 Highland Drive. We will be continuing the trail construction we started in December.

Cleanup at the Salter Property starts at 9:30 a.m., work til noon.
The property is located at 10910 Bitney Springs Road. Work consists of cleaning up the property (placing junk in a dumpster) so that it will
be easier to sell. The funds will go toward developing a dog park for the community.

Please give me a call if you want any additional information.

Bill Haire
Trails Coordinator 272-5994"

Monday, January 08, 2007

Beauty of Auburn Trails

We rode a shortish Auburn loop (Google Earth file) yesterday (Clementine > Connector > back on Connector > Fuel Break > Culvert > Confluence). The trails were in great condition. Some recent work was done on the Connector Trail which allowed water to drain off the trail at sections where otherwise mud would collect. A big thank you to FATRAC and others who keep these trails in top shape.

The Connector Trail has matured into a terrific route. It is a blast to ride, features a sustainable design and does well in all months of the year. The builders of this trail should be proud of what they've created and all of us should be grateful.

Yesterday, I was struck by the beauty of some of the Auburn trails and the accompanying scenery. For example, just the short section of singletrack near the beginning (bottom) of Clementine is just gorgeous. To see what I mean, visit this web album of our ride.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Strange Conditions

Trail conditions continue to be very bizarre this winter. There is so much frost and recent hail on or in the ground that often the trail beds seem either very crusty with ice or very, very wet.

I rode the section of the South Yuba Trail from Edwards to Round Mountain yesterday and it was rather dicey. As you may know, that section is already somewhat hazardous, but with the ice it was especially scary. I took my time, as I was riding alone and it was only an hour before dark; if I had a mishap out there, I would be in deep, deep trouble. But at least I did not see any motos out there.

I don't have any stats to back this up, but it seems that thus far, it is very cold this season.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Beginner Mountain Bike Ride - Saturday 1/6

"Beginner Mountain Bike Ride:
When: Saturday 1-6-2007
Where: Meet @ Empire Professional Building.
605 South Auburn Street, Ste: D, Grass Valley, CA
Chiropractic + /Back, Body & Beyond.
Corner of Empire & South Auburn Street (Front Parking Lot)

530-273-8082 (press 6 to leave message)
Meeting Time: 9:45 AM to check Bikes/ Equipment
Leave @ 10:00 AM.

Ride: Empire Mine Loop Service Roads, Single Track, 1-2 hours.

Bring: Bike, Spare Tube, Air-Pump, H20
(Bottle in Cage on bike, or hydration pack).

Temperature appropriate clothing (2-3 layers) 2 layers lycra with nylon shell is best... Full fingered gloves, helmet. (No helmet-No Ride)

Hope to see you there, Darwin S. Leek, D.C."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Motos Tear Up Round Mountain

While riding Round Mountain a few days ago, I yet again encountered motorcycles illegally riding non-motorized trails. This time it was the Up-and-Over Trail near Trailhead Road. These people roared off before I could confront them. Sigh. Like many others, I am becoming really tired of seeing shredded trailbeds due to illegal moto usage on local trails.

As part of our spring trailwork, I would like to propose to the BLM that BONC erect some kind of moto obstacles and signage on these trails on and near Round Mountain. I realize that such actions are not going to stop the least considerate moto heads, but it might deter others. Right now, it is too easy for these people to assume that it is OK to go off and tear up sensitive trailbeds.